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Full text of "Egan Resource management plan : approved oil and gas leasing amendment and record of decision"

BUM LIBRARY 





United States Department of Interior 

Bureau of Land Management 

Ely District 

Egan Resource Area Office, Ely, Nevada 



May 1994 



Egan Resource Management Plan 



APMMWEB 

Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment and 

Record of Decision 




Tommyknocker Well. T61x-33G, Mobil Oil Corp., Long Valley, Nv. 

(Photo by Brian Ammej 



MISSION STATEMENT 

The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the stewardship of our public lands. 
It is commited to manage, protect, and improve these lands in a manner to serve the 
needs of the American people for all times. Management is based upon the principles 
of multiple use and sustained yield of our nation's resources within a framework of 
environmental responsibility and scientific technology. These resources include 
recreation, rangelands, timber, minerals, watershed, fish and wildlife, wilderness, air 
and scenic, scientific and cultural values. 










BLM/EL/PL-94/008 + 1610 




JX I '530 



BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

Nevada State Office 

850 Harvard Way 

P.O. Box 12000 

Reno, Nevada 89520-0006 






TAKE 
PRIDE IN 






United States Department of the Interior America 




IN REPLY REFER TO: 

1610 (EGN) 

(NV-930.1) 

(NV-047) 



/$q<£ 



May 2, 1994 



Dear Reader: 

Enclosed for your information and use is the Egan Resource Management Plan (RMP) 
Approved Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment and Record of Decision (ROD). The Approved Plan 
Amendment (APA) outlines how 3.8 million acres of public lands administered by the BLM's 
Ely District Egan Resource Area will be managed for oil and gas leasing, exploration and 
development. The decisions contained in the APA are those developed through the analysis in 
the "Egan RMP Proposed Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment and Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement". This APA and ROD completes the planning and 
environmental process for development of this plan amendment. 

This document is in two parts. Part I: Approved Plan Amendment, contains the resource 
objectives, leasing decisions and management actions for each resource category where 
leasing restrictions were developed; implementation of the plan; plan monitoring and 
evaluation; consistency; and public availability. Part II: Record of Decision, contains the 
decision to select the proposed amendment; alternatives considered, including the 
environmentally preferable alternative; management considerations; mitigation and monitoring; 
public involvement; and approval. 

Additional copies of this APA and ROD may be obtained from the BLM Ely District Office, 
702 N. Industrial Way, HC 33, Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301-9408. 

Sincerely, 




Billy R. Templeton 
State Director, Nevada 



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APPROVED 

EGAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN 

OIL AND GAS LEASING AMENDMENT 

AND 

RECORD OF DECISION 



Prepared by the 

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

ELY DISTRICT 




%^/t*?&££*> 



Billy R. Templeton 
State Director, Nevada 

May 1994 



The Approved Egan Resource Management Plan Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment and Record 
of Decision outlines leasing and development of oil and gas resources on approximately 3.8 
million acres of public lands administered by the Ely District Egan Resource Area in portions of 
White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties, Nevada. The Approved Amendment brings the approved 
Egan Resource Management Plan into conformance with the Supplemental Program Guidance 
for Oil and Gas Resources (BLM Manual 1624, released November 14, 1986). 

For further information contact: Egan Resource Area Manager, Bureau of Land Management, 
Ely District, 702 N. Industrial Way, HC 33, Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301, or telephone 
(702) 289-4865. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

INTRODUCTION 1 

PART I: APPROVED PLAN AMENDMENT 2 

LEASING DETERMINATIONS 2 

LEASING DECISIONS 4 

Wildlife Habitat 4 

Threatened and Endangered Species 5 

Riparian Habitat 6 

Woodland Resources 7 

Cultural Resources 7 

Wilderness 8 

Recreation . 10 

Visual Resources 10 

Lands 12 

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE APPROVED AMENDMENT 12 

1 . Leasing Decisions 12 

2. Standard Practices and Procedures 13 

3. Conditions of Approval 13 

MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF THE APPROVED AMENDMENT 13 

CONSISTENCY 13 

PUBLIC AVAILABILITY 13 

PART II: RECORD OF DECISION 1 7 

DECISION 17 

ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT 17 

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS 18 

MITIGATION AND MONITORING 18 

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT 18 

APPROVAL 19 



APPENDIX A: APPROVED AMENDMENT STANDARD PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES FOR 

GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION AND CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL A-1 

APPENDIX B: ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT SECTION 7 CONSULTATION B-1 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (Cont.) 



LIST OF MAPS 



Page 



Map 1 Planning Area Location Map 14 

Map 2 Approved Amendment Map 15 

Map 3 Approved Amendment Map 1 6 



LIST OF TABLES 



Table 1 
Table 2 
Table 3 
Table 4 
Table 5 
Table 6 
Table 7 
Table 8 
Table 9 
Table 10 
Table 1 1 



Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 
Approved 



Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 
Amendment 



Determination Summary Table 2 

Leasing Determinations - Major Restrictions 3 

Leasing Determinations - Minor Restrictions 3 

Wildlife Species 5 

T&E Species 6 

Riparian and Woodland Resources 7 

Cultural Resources 8 

Wilderness and Instant Study Areas 9 

Recreation 11 

Recreation, Scenic and Natural Areas 11 

Lands 12 



11 



APPROVED 

EGAIM RMP OIL AND GAS LEASING AMENDMENT 

and 
RECORD OF DECISION 



INTRODUCTION 

The Egan Resource Area (RA) administers lands which have potential for oil and gas resources. Several 
oil companies have entered into development contracts which demonstrates a long-term commitment 
to explore and develop these resources. Since 1 984, the Egan RA has experienced steady geophysical 
exploration and exploratory well drilling. Oil and gas reserves are located and economically extracted 
within Railroad Valley which borders the resource area to the south. Oil and gas resources are also 
economically extracted in Pine Valley, north of the resource area. Current geological models ("plays") 
indicate oil and gas targets are located within the Egan RA. 

The Approved Egan Resource Management Plan (RMP) does not address issues relating to oil and gas 
exploration and development. Consequently, the Egan RMP, as implemented with the signing of the 
Record of Decision (ROD) on February 3, 1987, is not in conformance with Bureau Manual 1624 
Supplemental Program Guidance (SPG) for Energy and Minerals (released; November 14, 1986) and 
does not specifically address how oil and gas leasing within the Egan RA will be accomplished now or 
in the future. The BLM has made a commitment with the final approval of Bureau Manual 1624 in 
1986, after extensive public comment, to have all approved RMPs throughout the BLM be in 
conformance with this manual supplement. 

The purpose of this oil and gas leasing amendment is to bring the approved Egan RMP into 
conformance with Bureau Manual 1624 by developing specific decisions which allow sound multiple- 
use management of natural resources in light of potential development of oil and gas resources. 

The Approved Egan RMP Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment, herein referred to as the Approved Plan 
Amendment (APA) and ROD incorporates oil and gas management into the Egan Resource Area RMP. 
The APA encompasses approximately 3.8 million acres of public lands administered by the BLM Ely 
District Egan RA within White Pine, Lincoln and Nye Counties, Nevada (refer to Map 1 , Planning Area). 
The Egan RMP is amended to conform to the program guidance outlined in Bureau Manual 1 624 SPG 
for oil and gas resources. This program guidance requires the BLM to estimate oil and gas 
development potential and balance management of oil and gas resources with management of other 
natural resources. 

General decisions contained in this plan amendment are in the form of oil and gas leasing 
determinations and the appropriate leasing restrictions necessary to protect other resource values. 
Determinations are in the form of land use designations such as "open" or "closed" to leasing or in the 
form of special stipulations attached to the lease (e.g. "open" to leasing with timing limitations or No 
Surface Occupancy). The stipulations which comprise the determinations are considered to be either 
major or minor restrictions. Major restrictions include "Closed" to leasing designations and No Surface 
Occupancy. Minor restrictions to leasing consist of timing limitations (seasonal restrictions) and 
controlled surface use (CSU) stipulations. Timing limitations indicate that an area is generally open to 
leasing except during a specified period of time to protect identified resource values. Normally, timing 
limitations are used when the time period to protect the resource values would exceed the 60-day 
limitation contained in the lease instrument. Controlled surface use stipulations allow use and 
occupancy of the leaseholding (unless restricted by another stipulation), but identified resource values 
require special operating constraints that may modify the lease rights. 



Specific leasing decisions contained in this amendment in the form of leasing stipulations and 
conditions to leasing and development, including standard practices and procedures (SPPs) for 
geophysical exploration and Conditions of Approval (COAs) were developed through the plan 
amendment process and will apply to all public lands administered by the Egan RA. The leasing 
decisions will be implemented to achieve resource condition objectives outlined as decisions in the 
Egan ROD or to protect sensitive or fragile natural resources that may be adversely impaired by 
management actions resulting from oil and gas leasing. 

This APA and ROD is in two parts. PART I: APPROVED PLAN AMENDMENT, meets the requirements 
of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. PART II: RECORD OF DECISION, 
meets the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. 

PART I: APPROVED PLAN AMENDMENT 

LEASING DETERMINATIONS 

The following tables (Tables 1 through 3) outline the leasing determinations for oil and gas leasing, 
exploration and development in the resource area for the protection of sensitive natural and cultural 
resources. Management of oil and gas resources under this plan amendment would allow 61 % of the 
RA (2,343,388 acres) to be open to leasing under standard terms and conditions; 1 .7% of the RA 
(67,500 acres) open to leasing with No Surface Occupancy (NSO) stipulations, 30.9% of the RA 
(1,186,580 acres) open to leasing with timing limitations; 0.1% of the RA (3,024 acres) closed to 
leasing for discretionary reasons and 6.3% of the RA (241,171 acres) closed to leasing for 
nondiscretionary reasons. Major and minor leasing restrictions are displayed in Maps 2 and 3. 



TABLE 1 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

DETERMINATION SUMMARY TABLE 


Determination 


Acres 


Percent of RA 




Open to Leasing with Standard 
Terms and Conditions 


2,343,388 


61.0 


Open to Leasing with Major 
Restrictions (No Surface Occupancy) 


67,500 


1.7 


Open to Leasing with Minor 
Restrictions (Timing Limitations) 


1,186,580 


30.9 


No Leasing (Discretionary) 


3,024 


0.1 


No Leasing - WSA/ISAs 
(Non-discretionary) 


241,171 


6.3 


Total: 


3.841 ;663 


100.0 



TABLE 2 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

LEASING DETERMINATIONS - MAJOR RESTRICTIONS 


Resource/Land Use 


Determination 


Acres 


WSAs/ISAs 


Closed - Nondiscretionary 


241,171 


R&PP Leases 


Closed - Discretionary 


2,264 


Recreation Sites 


Closed - Discretionary 


560 


Natural Features 


Closed - Discretionary 


200 


Sunshine Locality 
National Register District 


No Surface Occupancy 


18,400 


Other Cultural Resources 


No Surface Occupancy 


11,334 


Mount Grafton Scenic Area 


No Surface Occupancy 


8,080* 


Ragged Ridge Scenic Area 


No Surface Occupancy 
(acres outside of WSA) 


7,680" 
(3,840) 


Goshute Canyon Natural Area 


No Surface Occupancy 


7,650* 


Recreation Sites 


No Surface Occupancy 


2,261 


Natural Features 


No Surface Occupancy 


715 


Riparian Areas 


No Surface Occupancy 


320 


Threatened and Endangered Species 


No Surface Occupancy 


1,740 


Ferruginous Hawk Nest Sites 


No Surface Occupancy 


9,280 


Bald Eagle Roost Site 


No Surface Occupancy 


40 


Total: 


f:V 


3.1 1.695 


* Acres are within existing WSAs and are Closed to Leasing. In the absence of wilderness designation by Congress, 
the lands would be generally available for leasing and the NSO stipulation in this alternative would apply. 



TABLE 3 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

LEASING DETERMINATIONS - MINOR RESTRICTIONS 


Resource/Land Use 


Determination 


Acres 


Sage Grouse Leks and 
Winter Habitat 


Timing Limitation 


1,069,965 


Ferruginous Hawk 
Nesting Territories 


Timing Limitation 


116,615 


Total: 




1,186.580 



LEASING DECISIONS 

The following resource categories contain specific leasing decisions tied to the leasing determinations 
outlined above and list management objectives which form the basis for the leasing decisions. Only 
those resource categories which have specific leasing decisions are described. All other resources are 
covered by Standard Practices and Procedures (SPPs) and Conditions of Approval (COAs) on a 
Resource Area-wide basis. Specific decisions in the Egan ROD modified by this plan amendment are 
also described under the resource category. Specific management actions are also discussed as they 
relate to the resource category. Site-specific decisions in the form of SPPs for geophysical operations 
and COAs for oil and gas operations are found in Appendix A of this document. 

A primary objective of this plan amendment was to comply with the Conner v. Burford decision (Ninth 
Circuit Court of Appeals, January 1 988) and complete a Section 7 consultation with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (F&WS) which considers Threatened and Endangered (T&E) species at all stages of on- 
shore oil and gas leasing. The Biological Opinion (April 15, 1993) is found in Appendix B of this 
document. The Biological Opinion, Incidental Take Statement, Conservation Recommendations and 
Reinitiation Requirements are incorporated into the Approved Amendment and Record of Decision. 
Each proposed oil and gas action (geophysical, APDs, etc.) which occurs as the result of leasing will 
be subject to further statutory compliance and environmental analysis in conformance with NEPA and 
appropriate mitigating measures will be applied to each action at that time. 

A. Wildlife Habitat 

Objectives 

Protect Ferruginous Hawk Nesting Territories and Nest Sites. 
Protect Sage Grouse Leks and Winter Habitat. 

Leasing Decisions 

1 . Ferruginous Hawk Nest Sites shall have a 40-acre No Surface Occupancy zone 
surrounding each known nest site to protect hawk breeding territory (refer to Table 4). 

2. Ferruginous Hawk Nesting Territories shall be subject to Timing Limitations for oil and 
gas activities, including geophysical operations, between March 15 and July 1 to 
protect hawk nesting territory. The radius of the Timing Limitation shall be 1/2 mile 
for each known nesting territory (refer to Table 4). 

3. Sage Grouse Leks shall be subject to Timing Limitations for oil and gas activities, 
including geophysical operations, between March 1 5 to May 1 to protect sage grouse 
lek(s) during the breeding season. In accordance with the MOU between the BLM and 
Nevada Division of Wildlife, the Timing Limitation shall be in effect for a 2-mile radius 
for each known lek (refer to Table 4). This decision modifies the dates of restriction 
(March 1 to May 15) stated in the Egan ROD, p. 31. 

4. Sage Grouse Winter Habitat shall be subject to Timing Limitations for oil and gas 
activities, including geophysical operations, between November 1 to March 31 to 
protect winter habitat during the period of stress for the birds. The Timing Limitation 
shall apply to the areas of known winter habitat (refer to Table 4). 



The timing restriction for activities within critical mule deer winter range (Egan ROD, 
p. 32) is modified to allow oil and gas activities, including geophysical operations, 
between November 1 and March 31. 



TABLE 4 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

WILDLIFE SPECIES 

(Timing Limitations) 


Resource/Land Use 


Acres 


Sage Grouse Leks (2-mile radius) 
(March 15 to May 1) 


916,845 


Sage Grouse Winter Habitat 
(November 1 to March 1) 


153,120 


Ferruginous Hawk Nesting Territories 
(March 15 to July 1) 


116,615 


Total: 


1,186.580 


WILDLIFE SPECIES 
(No Surface Occupancy) 


Ferruginous Hawk Nest Sites 


9,280 



B. 



Threatened and Endangered Species 



Objectives 



Protect threatened and endangered animal and plant species and their critical habitat. 

Protect federally listed candidate species and their habitat to prevent possible future 
listing of species as threatened or endangered. 



Leasing Decisions 

1 . Threatened, Endangered or federally-listed candidate (category) species and their 
critical habitat will be protected from oil and gas activities through No Surface 
Occupancy lease stipulations (refer to Table 5 for species list and size of restriction 
applied to each.). 

2. No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect within one mile of Goshute 
Creek to protect habitat for the Bonneville Cutthroat trout (refer to Table 5). 



No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect on 40 acres surrounding the 
known bald eagle roost site in the vicinity of Cedar Mountain, Newark Valley (refer to 
Table 5). 



Management Actions 



Site specific inventories for sensitive T&E and candidate species will be undertaken if 
project activities are determined to have the potential to affect critical habitat or known 
occurrences of sensitive species. 

In conformance with the USF&WS approved recovery plan and implementation 
schedule for the White River Spinedace, develop and implement a habitat management 
plan for this species. 

As coordinated with the USF&WS, other agencies and private parties, cooperate with 
habitat rehabilitation efforts for the White River spinedace. 



TABLE 5 
APPROVED AMENDMENT 

T&E SPECIES 
(No Surface Occupancy) 


Resource/Land Use 


Acres 


Monte Neva Paint Brush 


160 


Welsh's Cateye 


20 


Highway 6 Area T&E Species 


720 


White River T&E Species 


520 


Newark Valley Tui Chub 


40 


Railroad Valley Springfish 


280 


Bonneville Cutthroat Trout 


4,480* 


Bald Eagle Roost Site 


40 


Total: 


1.780 


* These acres are contained within the Goshute Canyon WSA and are calculated into the acreage for Closed to 
Leasing (Non-discretionary) 



Riparian Habitat 

Objective 

Improve and/or maintain the condition of riparian habitat to good or better condition. 

Leasing Decision 

1 . No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect on 320 acres within Orchard 

Canyon to protect valuable riparian wet-meadow habitat (refer to Table 6). 



Woodland Resources 

Objective 

Protect the sensitive Swamp Cedar ecotype in White River Valley. 

Leasing Decision 

1 . No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect on 235 acres of sensitive 

Swamp Cedar habitat in White River Valley to protect and conserve the genetic pool 
of this species (refer to Table 6). 



TABLE 6 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

RIPARIAN AND WOODLAND RESOURCES 

(No Surface Occupancy) 


Resource/Land Use 


Acres 


Orchard Canyon Riparian Area 


320 


Swamp Cedar Area 


235 


Total: 


555 



E. Cultural Resources 



Objective 

Protect and conserve fragile and important cultural resources. 

Leasing Decisions 

1 . No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect for 1 8,400 acres of the 
Sunshine Locality National Register District for the protection of fragile prehistoric 
resources inclusively listed on the National Register of Historic Places and to provide 
integrity to the surface and subsurface environmental context in which the resources 
occur (refer to Table 7). 

2. A Lease Notice describing special cultural resource compliance requirements to operate 
on the remaining 16,160 acres of the Sunshine Locality National Register District shall 
be issued and in effect. 

3. No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect for an additional 11,334 
acres to protect the integrity and qualities of cultural properties which contribute to the 
National Register eligibility of the resource (refer to Table 7 for the cultural property list 
and size of restriction applied to each). 



4. Oil and gas exploration and development activities within 1 /4-mile of the Pony Express 

National Historic Trail or its associated features shall undergo a visual assessment in 
accordance with the visual management objectives outlined in the Egan ROD (P. 40). 
A Lease Notice describing this process shall be issued and in effect for the Pony 
Express National Historic Trail Corridor. 



TABLE 7 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

CULTURAL RESOURCES 

(No Surface Occupancy) 


Resource/Land Use 


Acres 


Sunshine Locality 
National Register District 


18,400 


Little Smoky Valley Antelope Wall 


320 


Little Smoky Valley Paleolndian Quarry 


3,200 


City of the Rocks Archaeological District 


6,514 


Huntington Valley Village 


640 


Newark Cave 


120 


Black Point Complex 


540 


Total: 


29.734 



Wilderness 
Objectives 

Protect Wilderness Values within WSAs/ISAs and designated Wilderness Areas. 

Protect natural resource values within the Goshute Canyon Natural Area. 
Leasing Decisions 

1 . WSAs and ISAs within the Egan RA, totalling 241 ,1 71 acres, will be Closed to Leasing 
unless otherwise released from wilderness consideration by Congress (refer to Table 8) . 

2. In the event Congress should release the Goshute WSA from wilderness consideration, 
No Surface Occupancy stipulations for 7,650 acres will be in effect for the Goshute 
Canyon Natural Area. 

3. Lands released by Congress from wilderness consideration shall be open to leasing 
under standard terms and conditions unless otherwise restricted through lease 
stipulations developed through this amendment. 



8 



TABLE 8 

EGAN RESOURCE AREA 

WILDERNESS AND INSTANT STUDY AREAS 

(WSAs/ISAs) 


WSA/ISA 
Name 


I 1 

WSA Number Total Acres Acres 

cQan RA 


Suitable Acres 
Egan RA 


Goshute Canyon 


NV-040-01 5 


35,594 


35,400 


22,100 


Park Range 


NV-040-154 


47,268 


31,300 


31,300 


Riordan's Well 


NV-040-166 


57,002 


17,000 


0** 


South Egan Range 


NV-040-168 


96,916 


78,100 





Mount Grafton 


NV-040-169 


73,216 


43,500 


12,650 


Far South Egans 


NV-040-172 


53,224 


18,100 


16,600 


Blue Eagle 


NV-060-158/199 


59,560 


14,650 


0** 


Goshute Canyon 
Natural Area ISA 


NV-040-01 5A 


2,641* 


2,641 





Huesser Mountain 
Bristlecone Pine 
Natural Area ISA 


NV-040-048A 


480 


480 





Total Acres: 




425.901 


241.171 


82.650 


* Acres outside of Goshute Canyon WSA (NV-040-01 5) 
** Changes from Final Wilderness EISs: 

The Riordan's Well WSA (NV-040-166) and the Blue Eagle WSA (NV-060-158/199) original recommendations of 
37,542 acres and 58,350 acres, respectively, as suitable for wilderness designation was changed to acres 
suitable for each WSA in 1989. This change from the Final EISs was the result of an administrative decision by 
the Nevada State Director after review of data published by the USGS which indicated the WSAs should be 
classified as high potential for oil and gas resources. 



G. Recreation 

Objective 

To provide high quality visitor services and recreational facilities, including developed 
camping and day-use facilities. 

Leasing Decisions 

1 . The lllipah. Cold Creek Reservoir and Goshute Creek Recreation Sites, totaling 560 
acres shall be closed to leasing to protect recreational uses incompatible with oil and 
gas development (refer to Table 9). 

2. The Goshute Cave and Cave Valley Cave Geologic Areas, totalling 200 acres shall be 
Closed to Leasing to protect the integrity of the geologic formations in which they 
occur (refer to Table 9). 

3. No Surface Occupancy lease stipulations will be in effect for 2,741 acres for the Ward 
Mountain Winter Sports Area, Garnet Hill Recreation Area, Antelope Summit, Bassett 
Lake, and Comins Lake Recreation Sites and the Bristlecone Pine Interpretive Area 
(refer to Table 10). 

H. Visual Resources 

Objectives 

Manage for scenic values within existing WSAs/ISAs and designated scenic areas. 

Manage for scenic values along the Pony Express National Historic Trail Corridor. 
Leasing Decisions 

1 . No Surface Occupancy stipulations will be in effect for 3,840 acres (non-WSA) of the 
Ragged Ridge Scenic Area to preserve scenic values (refer to Table 10). 

2. In the event Congress should release the Blue Eagle WSA from wilderness 
consideration, No Surface Occupancy stipulations for 3,840 acres will be in effect for 
the Ragged Ridge Scenic Area (refer to Table 10). 

3. In the event Congress should release the Mount Grafton WSA from wilderness 
consideration, No Surface Occupancy Stipulations for 8,080 acres will be in effect for 
the Mount Grafton Scenic Area (refer to Table 10). 



10 



TABLE 9 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

RECREATION 

(Closed - Discretionary) 


Resource/Land Use 


1 
1 


Acres 


lllipah Recreation Area 


300 


Cold Creek Reservoir Recreation Site 


220 


Goshute Creek Recreation Site 


40 


Goshute Cave Geologic Area 


160 


Cave Valley Geologic Area 


40 


Total: 


760 



TABLE 10 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

RECREATION, SCENIC AND NATURAL FEATURES 

(No Surface Occupancy) 


Resource/Land Use 


Acres 


Ward Mountain Winter Sports Area 


1,600 


Garnet Hill Recreation Area 


181 


Antelope Summit Recreation site 


160 


Bassett Lake Recreation Site 


160 


Comins Lake Recreation Site 


160 


Bristlecone Pine Interpretive Area 


480 


Mount Grafton Scenic Area 


8,080* 


Ragged Ridge Scenic Area 


7,680 
3,840" 


Goshute Canyon Natural Area 


7,650* 


Total: 




6.581 


* These areas are contained within WSAs and the acres are calculated into the acreage for 
Closed to Leasing (Non-discretionary). 



11 



Lands 
Objective 

Allow for protection of areas classified for other recreation and public purpose uses. 

Leasing Decisions 

1. Existing R&PP leases, totalling 2,264 acres, are Closed to Leasing to protect 

classification determinations incompatible with oil and gas development (refer to 
Table 11). 



TABLE 1 1 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

LANDS 

(Closed - Discretionary) 


Resource/Land Use 


Acres 


State of Nevada Maximum Security Prison 


1,059 


State of Nevada Prison Honor Camp 


15 


State of Nevada Ward Ovens 
Historical Monument/State Park 


520 


White Pine County Shooting Range 


670 


Total: 


2.264 



IMPLEMENTATION OF THE APPROVED AMENDMENT 

1 . Leasing Decisions 

The leasing decisions developed through this amendment process will be implemented upon 
approval by the State Director. New leasing stipulations developed through the amendment 
process will be attached to oil and gas leases beginning with the first competitive and non- 
competitive sales after signing of the ROD. Leasing stipulations will be assigned to new leases 
by the BLM Nevada State Office. 

This plan amendment does not repeal valid existing rights on public lands; i.e. the terms and 
conditions of existing leases. Leasing stipulations in the Approved Amendment cannot be 
attached to existing leases without the consent of the lessee. The existing stipulations 
attached to those leases are retained as long as the lease is valid. If the acreage involved in 
expired leases is re-offered for leasing, the new stipulations in the Approved Amendment would 
be attached to the lease. 



12 



2. Standard Practices and Procedures 

Standard practices and procedures (SPPs) for conducting geophysical operations would be 
implemented at the District-level. The SPPs would be incorporated into the proposed 3150 
Notice of Intent (NOD to conduct geophysical operations. Additional mitigating measures 
incorporating appropriate SOPs as outlined in the Egan ROD would be recommended through 
the appropriate NEPA analysis conducted in response to the geophysical NOI. 

3. Conditions of Approval 

Conditions of Approval would be implemented at the District-level and attached to the 3160 
Application for Permit to Drill (APDs). Additional mitigating measures incorporating appropriate 
SOPs as outlined in the Egan ROD would be recommended through the appropriate NEPA 
analysis conducted in response to the APD. As the potential for site-specific impacts are 
identified through NEPA analysis, other mitigating measures may be developed so long as they 
conform with the limitations of the granted lease rights. 



MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF THE APPROVED AMENDMENT 

Implementation of the Approved Amendment will be monitored annually. The Five Year Evaluation of 
these decisions will be done on the same schedule as the original Egan RMP. Effectiveness of 
determinations in this amendment for maintaining and enhancing resource conditions while facilitating 
oil and gas exploration and development will be evaluated to determine if changes are needed. 



CONSISTENCY 

The Egan RMP Proposed Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment has been coordinated with adjacent Federal, 
State and local entities. The Proposed Amendment is consistent with the officially approved or 
adopted resource related plans, policies and programs of other Federal agencies. State and local 
governments and Indian Tribes. Existing BLM land use plans that cover lands contiguous to the 
planning area include the Elko RMP, Wells RMP, Shoshone-Eureka RMP, Tonopah MFP, and Schell MFP. 
The Humboldt National Forest Land Use Plan addresses resource management on lands administered 
by the U.S. Forest Service. These lands are located both within and adjacent to the planning area. 

No inconsistencies with the plans, programs and policies of other Federal, State or Local Governments 
were identified during the planning process or during the Governor's Consistency Review. 



PUBLIC AVAILABILITY 

This document has been sent to all persons and agencies participating in this planning effort as 
identified on the mailing list developed for the Proposed Plan Amendment and FSEIS. Copies of this 
document may be obtained from the Ely District Office, 702 N. Industrial Way, HC 33, Box 33500, 
Ely, NV 89301-9408. This Approved Plan Amendment and ROD will be sent to all those who 
participated in the planning process and to others who may request copies. Public involvement will 
continue to be requested during implementation of this plan amendment. 



13 



EGAN OIL AND GAS 
LEASING AMENDMENT 

_\ BLM LANDS 
m OTHER FEDERAL LANDS 
IH PRIVATE AND STATE LANDS 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 
PLANNING AREA LOCATION MAP 




14 



RSSE RSOE 



EQAN OIL AND GAS 
LEASING AMENDMENT < 

_J BLM LANDS 
III OTHER FEDERAL LANDS 
PRIVATE AND STATE LANDS 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

CLOSED TO LEASING 

| DISCRETIONARY 

NONDISCRETIONARY 

NO SURFACE OCCUPANCY (NSO) 



MJNSO n 

• FERRUGINOUS HAWK NEST SITES 




Map 2 



15 



HWE RK.E 



EGAN OIL AND GAS A' J 
LEASING AMENDMENT 

_J BLM LANDS 
g OTHER FEDERAL LANDS 
H PRIVATE AND STATE LANDS 




Map 3 



16 



PART II 
RECORD OF DECISION 



DECISION 

The decision is made to select the Proposed Amendment as the Egan RMP Approved Oil and Gas 
Leasing Amendment. The leasing determinations, stipulations, standard practices and procedures and 
conditions of approval contained in the Proposed Amendment comprise the decisions of the Approved 
Amendment. These decisions, as presented in Part I: Approved Plan Amendment section of this 
document, are the same and not repeated here. 



ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT 

1. Alternatives Analyzed in the Draft Amendment 

Alternative A: Continuation of Present Management (No Action) Alternative 

The Continuation of Present Management Alternative (No Action) described management for oil and 
gas resources as summarized in five energy Environmental Assessment Reports (EARs) encompassing 
the Egan RA. Analysis of the current situation indicated important resource values were not protected 
through leasing stipulations and other leasing stipulations were applied where resource values did not 
exist. This alternative was not in conformance with the Bureau Manual 1 624 SPG for oil and gas 
resources. 

Alternative B: Preferred Alternative (Proposed Amendment) 

The Preferred Alternative described management of oil and gas resources based on updated resource 
inventories, resource condition objectives outlined in the Approved Egan RMP, application of conditions 
of approval to mitigate short-term impacts and consideration of cumulative impacts. The Preferred 
Alternative balances oil and gas exploration and development with protection of natural resources in 
a manner which provides consideration of the resource in question without being overly or 
unnecessarily restrictive to the oil and gas industry. The Preferred Alternative is in conformance with 
the Bureau Manual 1624 SPG for oil and gas resources. 

Alternative C: Standard Terms and Conditions Alternative 

The Standard Terms and Conditions Alternative described management of oil and gas resources 
through leasing under the standard terms and conditions of the lease instrument only. This alternative 
would provide the minimum protection to resource values that the BLM could legally implement. 
Leases would not have stipulations attached and protection of natural resources would rely upon 
conditions of approval and existing federal laws. This alternative would be in conformance with the 
Bureau Manual 1624 SPG for oil and gas resources. 

2. Environmentally Preferable Alternative 

The Preferred Alternative is the environmentally preferable alternative and is approved as the Egan RMP 
Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment (see Part 1 : Approved Plan Amendment). 

17 



MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS 

The decision to approve the plan amendment takes into account statutory, legal and national policy 
considerations. The analysis in the draft and final SEIS was based on evaluation of the Egan RA for 
oil and gas development potential, identifying sensitive natural and cultural resources, evaluating the 
effects of surface disturbance on these resources and identifying successful protective measures. The 
constraints placed on oil and gas leasing and development were reviewed in light of resource protection 
and where possible, major conflicts resolved to provide a balance between protection of sensitive 
resources and sound practices for development of oil and gas resources. The decision was also based 
on input provided by and received from the public, industry, as well as other federal and state 
agencies. Through this review process, all practicable methods to reduce environmental harm, without 
being overly restrictive to oil and gas leasing, exploration and development were incorporated into this 
plan amendment. To this end, Section 7 consultation, per the requirements in the Conner v. Burford 
decision, was completed and a "non-jeopardy" Biological Opinion was received from the F&WS. This 
Biological Opinion is incorporated into the Record of Decision and is found in Appendix B. The leasing 
determinations are consistent with BLM's multiple use mandate under the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 and with the supplemental program guidance for oil and gas resources. 

MITIGATION AND MONITORING 

Mitigation measures required for the implementation of the leasing decisions outlined in Part 1 are 
described in Appendix A: "Standard Practices and Procedures and Conditions of Approval". These 
mitigation measures will be enforced in all cases. Application of these measures will reduce the 
impacts to natural and cultural resources as described in the draft and final SEIS. The mitigation 
measures described in Appendix A will be applied to authorizations on existing leases. Leasing 
decisions developed through this plan amendment will be applied to all new leases issued after the date 
of approval of this ROD. Existing leases will continue to be managed under current leasing decisions 
until expiration of the lease. Upon lease renewal, leasing decisions in this plan amendment will take 
effect. 

Implementation of the Approved Plan Amendment decisions will be monitored annually. The Five Year 
Evaluation of these decisions will be done on the same schedule as the Egan RMP. Effectiveness of 
the decisions in the approved amendment for maintaining and enhancing resource conditions while 
facilitating oil and gas exploration and development will be evaluated to determine if changes are 
needed. 

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT 

Public participation for this planning effort began with the publication of the Federal Re gister Notice 
of Intent (FR Vol. 54, No. 192, Thursday, October 5, 1989) to prepare an energy and minerals 
amendment to the resource management plan. With this notification, a scoping document was sent 
to approximately 760 individuals, State and Federal agencies, units of local Government, organizations 
and members of private industry. The public was asked to evaluate the issues, planning criteria and 
management concerns and to identify any additional issues, management concerns, and planning 
criteria that should be addressed in the resource management plan amendment. 



18 



The Ely District held two public meetings on the issues, planning criteria and management concerns. 
The first meeting was held in Ely, Nevada on October 26, 1 989 and a second meeting in Reno, Nevada 
on October 27, 1989. There were 15 participants at the Ely meeting and three participated at the 
Reno meeting. 

A total of 54 written responses were received in response to the 30-day comment period. The letters 
and comments received are on file at the Ely District Office and are available for public review. 

After review of the public comments received during the initial scoping period, the complexity of issues 
related to locatable and other mineral commodities, indicated the need to treat these mineral resources 
in a later separate amendment. Based on the public response, the scope of this amendment would 
focus only on oil and gas leasing issues. 

A Federal Register "Notice" was published on Friday, August 17, 1990, changing the scope of the 
amendment from addressing all mineral issues to only addressing the oil and gas issues in the Resource 
Area. 

The Egan Resource Management Plan Draft Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment and Supplemental EIS was 
published and made available to the public and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on February 
21, 1992 for a 90-day comment period which ended June 6, 1992. The Notice of Availability was 
published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, March 3, 1992 (FR Vol. 57, No. 42). Two public 
meetings were held to solicit public comment in Ely, Nevada on April 21, 1992 and in Reno, Nevada 
on April 22, 1992. There was one participant at the Ely meeting and one participant at the Reno 
meeting. 

A total of seven comment letters were received during the 90-day public comment period for the Draft 
Amendment and DSEIS. Each letter was reviewed and all substantive comments which questioned 
facts or analysis or commented on issues discussed in the Draft Amendment have been evaluated and 
responded to in the Proposed Amendment and FSEIS and will not be repeated here. Based on public 
and agency review, the FSEIS analysis for air and water quality were supplemented. In addition, the 
Proposed Amendment was subject to consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) 
under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The USF&WS issued a "non-jeopardy" Biological 
Opinion which is reprinted in its entirety in Appendix G of the FSEIS and Appendix B of this document. 

The Proposed Amendment was published and made available to the public and EPA on August 1 8, 
1 993. A Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on Friday, August 27, 1 993 (FR 
Vol. 58, No. 165) beginning the 30-day public protest period which ended September 30, 1993. The 
document was also made available to the State of Nevada for the Governor's 60-day Consistency 
Review which ended October 30, 1993. No protests were received. 



APPROVAL 

The approval of this Record of Decision for the Egan RMP Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment completes 
the EIS process for this plan amendment. 



rjg^, ^^dt^f^J^u 



May 2, 1994 



My R. Templeton Date 

State Director, Nevada 



19 






t«W* 






APPENDIX A 



STANDARD PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES 

FOR 

GEOPHYSICAL OPERATIONS 

AND 

CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL (COAs) 



APPENDIX A 

APPROVED AMENDMENT 

STANDARD PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES 
FOR GEOPHYSICAL OPERATIONS 

AND 
CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL (COAs) 



STANDARD PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES 
Geophysical Operations 

1 . The operator shall furnish a project 
map(s) at a minimum scale of 
1:100,000 with the Notice of Intent 
(NOD depicting the approximate line 
route to be used. A map shall also be 
filed with the Notice of Completion 
(NOC) depicting the actual location of 
the complete line. 

2. Any changes in location of geophysical 
lines or test arrays will be brought to 
the attention of the authorized officer 
prior to the change being made on the 
ground. 

3. No blading or other dirt work will be 
allowed without prior approval of the 
authorized officer. 

4. All disturbed areas will be reclaimed as 
directed by the authorized officer. 
Bond liability will not be released until 
this reclamation is completed to the 
satisfaction of the authorized officer. 

5. Reclamation required by the authorized 
officer will be done concurrently with 
the geophysical operations insofar as 
possible or within 30 days of the 
authorized officer's receipt of the NOC. 
Reseeding will be undertaken by the 
operator between the dates of 
October 1 and March 15. 

6. No blasting will be permitted within 
1/4-mile of historic trails, natural areas. 



10. 



11. 



12. 



identified archaeological sites, 
recreation areas, known caves, water 
wells or springs. 

During periods of adverse conditions 
affecting soil moisture caused by 
climatic factors such as thawing, heavy 
rains, snow, flooding or drought, all 
activities off existing maintained roads 
that create excessive surface rutting 
may be suspended. When adverse 
conditions exist, the operator will 
contact the authorized officer for an 
evaluation and decision based on soil 
types, soil moisture, slope, vegetation, 
and cover. 

Off-road vehicular travel shall be held 
to an absolute minimum necessary to 
complete operations. 

Powder magazines shall be located at 
least 1/4-mile from travelled roads. 
Loaded shot holes and charges shall be 
attended at all times. 

All trash, flagging, lath, etc. will be 
removed and hauled to an authorized 
disposal site. No oil or lubricants shall 
be drained into the ground surface. 

The operator shall notify the authorized 
officer the date rehabilitation operations 
commence and are completed. 

A portable mud pit is recommended 
when drilling with fluids and will be 
required by the authorized officer as 
needed to protect natural resources. 



A-l 



13. A copy of these recommended 
operating procedures shall be kept by 
the party chief of each geophysical 
crew. 

14. The operator may be required to have 
fire fighting equipment available on-site 
while operations are in progress, 
depending on hazards inherent in the 
type of operation and fire hazard levels. 
The quantity and type of equipment 
will be specified by the authorized 
officer. All uncontrolled fires will be 
reported immediately to the authorized 
officer (702-289-2064: Ely District 
Fire Control Center or 1-800-633- 
6092). 

15. The use of specialized low surface 
impact equipment (wide or balloon tired 
vehicles, ATVs) and/or helicopters may 
be required for any activities in off-road 
areas where it is deemed necessary by 
the authorized officer to protect the 
fragile soils and/or other resource 
values. 

1 6. Activities of the geophysical operations 
shall not prevent, obstruct, or unduly 
interfere with any activities of other 
authorized users of the public lands. 

17. Removal or alteration of existing 
improvements (fences, cattle guards, 
etc.) is not allowed without prior 
approval of the authorized officer. 
Existing improvements will be 
maintained in a serviceable and safe 
condition. 

18. Fences shall not be cut without prior 
approval of the authorized officer. 
Before cutting through any fences, the 
operator shall firmly brace the fence on 
both sides of the cut; a temporary gate 
will be installed for use during the 
course of operations unless the fence is 
immediately repaired. Upon completion 
of operations, fences shall be restored 
to at least their original condition. 



19. Drill hole cuttings will be returned to 
the hole if possible, or at a minimum, 
raked and spread out so as not to 
impede regrowth of vegetation or to 
create erosion problems. 

20. Any identified bald eagle roost sites, 
peregrine falcon hack sites and 
occupied raptor aeries (nests) will be 
avoided during geophysical operations. 
A 1/2-mile buffer zone will be imposed 
on all activities in these areas. 

21. Consultation with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service is required per section 
7 of the Endangered Species Act if any 
proposed listed or listed threatened or 
endangered species or its critical 
habitat is likely to be affected by 
project activities. If, through 
consultation, there is deemed to be an 
adverse impact to a T&E species or its 
habitat, the proposal must be modified 
or denied. 

22. Actions which would adversely impact 
a federally listed candidate threatened 
or endangered plant or animal species 
or its habitat will be modified in order 
to prevent possible future listing of 
these species as threatened or 
endangered. 

23. Cultural resource inventories, if 
required, will be conducted on all 
proposed project routes or areas of 
potential surface disturbing impacts 
prior to authorization of the geophysical 
operations. Inventories will be 
completed by BLM or BLM-approved 
cultural resource permit holders. 

24. All identified cultural resources will be 
avoided by project-related activities per 
the Nevada BLM Programmatic 
Agreement for Cultural Resources . If 
avoidance is not feasible, geophysical 
activities must cease until mitigating 
measures are developed and 
implemented and Section 106 
consultation is completed. 
Archaeological monitors may be 
required in special cases. 



A-2 



25. The operator is responsible for 
informing all persons associated with 
the project that knowingly disturbing 
cultural properties (historic or 
archaeological) or collecting artifacts is 
illegal. 

26. During winter geophysical operations, 
requirements for cultural resource 
inventories may be waived by the 
authorized officer if the unsurveyed 
lines are located on bare and frozen 
ground or are completely covered 
(100%) by snow and the snow is 
sufficiently deep (approximately 4-6") 
to prevent ground disturbing ruts. 
Should conditions change while 
operations are in progress, the Operator 
must contact the authorized officer to 
determine if an archaeological monitor 
or a Class III survey is required prior to 
continuance of geophysical activities. 

27. For any geophysical operations 
occurring within listed National Register 
Districts or National Register-eligible 
properties and districts, a Section 106 
consultation for a Determination of 
Effect must be completed and 
mitigation measures developed and 
implemented prior to authorization. 

28. All geophysical and leasing activities 
proposed in Wilderness Study Areas 
(WSAs) will follow the guidance set 
forth under H-8550-1 Interim 
Management Policy and Guidelines for 
Lands Under Wilderness Review . 

29. All geophysical or oil and gas activities 
proposed in designated wilderness 
areas will follow the guidance set forth 
under 43 CFR 8560 Management of 
Designated Wilderness Areas , the 
Wilderness Management Plan and any 
special provisions contained in the 
specific legislation designating the 
Wilderness Area. 



CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL (COAs) 

Application for Permit to Drill (APD) and Sundry 
Notices 

The regulations governing drilling operations on 
public lands are stated in 43 CFR 3160. With 
submittal of an APD or Sundry Notice by the 
operator or lessee, the following conditions of 
approval may be required for the operation as 
applicable. 

Pre-Construction 

1 . Existing roads should be used to the 
extent possible. Additional roads, if 
needed, shall be kept to an absolute 
minimum and the location of routes 
must be approved by the authorized 
officer prior to construction. 

2. Upon determination of an impending 
field development, a transportation plan 
will be requested to reduce 
unnecessary access roads. 

3. All access roads will be constructed 
and maintained to BLM road standards 
(BLM Manual Section 9113). 

4. Off road travel will be restricted to 
terrain with less than 30 percent slopes 
unless approved by the authorized 
officer. 

5. Proposed surface disturbance and 
vehicular travel will be limited to the 
approved well location and access 
route. 

6. Any changes in well location, facility 
location, access or site expansion must 
be approved by the authorized officer in 
advance. 

7. Prior to approval of an APD or other 
lease operations, a Section 1 06 
consultation must be completed by the 
authorized officer as provided for under 
the Nevada BLM Programmatic 
Agreement for Cultural Resources . 



A-3 



8. Any activity planned within a 1/4-mile 

on either side of the Pony Express 
National Historic Trail must undergo a 
visual assessment. Appropriate 

mitigation of visual impacts will be 
implemented as necessary to keep the 
management corridor in as natural a 
condition as possible. 

Well Pad and Facility Construction 

1 . Every pad, access road or facility site 
must have an approved surface 
drainage plan. 

2. A site diagram depicting the location of 
production facilities, recontoured slopes 
and stabilization measures shall be 
approved by the authorized officer prior 
to installation of production facilities. 

3. Drainage from disturbed areas will be 
confined or directed so that erosion of 
undisturbed areas is not increased. In 
addition, no runoff water (including that 
from roads) will be allowed to flow into 
intermittent or perennial waterways 
without first passing through a 
sediment-trapping mechanism. Erosion 
control structures may include: 
waterbars, berms, drainage ditches, 
sediment ponds, or other devices. 

4. Access road construction for 
exploratory wells should be planned 
such that a permanent road can later 
be constructed in the event of field 
development. 

5. Construction of access roads on steep 
hillsides and near watercourses will be 
avoided where alternate routes provide 
adequate access. 

6. Access roads requiring construction 
with cut and fill will be designed to 
minimize surface disturbance and take 
into account the character of the 
landform, natural contours, cut 
material, depth of cut, where the fill 
material will be deposited, resource 
concerns and visual contrast. 



7. Fill material will not be cast over 
hilltops or into drainages. Cut slopes 
should normally be no steeper than 3:1 
and fill slopes no steeper than 2:1 . 

8. Low water crossings should be used 
whenever possible. Installation of 
culverts, if necessary, will be designed 
to maintain the original stream gradient 
and will be of adequate size to 
accommodate a 24-hour 100-year 
event. Fill material will be properly 
compacted in layers not exceeding 6 
inches in thickness to insure stability 
and to prevent washing out or 
dislocation of the culvert. The road 
surface should not be less than 12 
inches above the culvert to prevent 
crushing from weight loads. 

9. As required, fill slopes surrounding 
culverts will be rip-rapped with a well 
graded mixture of rock sizes containing 
no material greater than two feet or 
smaller than three inches. The ratio of 
maximum to minimum dimension of 
any rock shall not exceed 6:1 . 

10. Water turnouts needed to provide 
additional drainage will be constructed 
not to exceed two percent slope to 
minimize soil erosion. 

1 1 . Well site layout should take into 
account the character of the 
topography and landform. Deep vertical 
cuts and steep long fill slopes should be 
avoided. All cut and fill slopes should 
be constructed to the least percent 
slope practical. 

1 2. Trash will be retained in portable trash 
cages and hauled to an authorized 
disposal site for disposal. Burning will 
not be allowed on the well site. 

13. No drilling or storage facilities will be 
allowed within 500 feet of any pond, 
reservoir, canal, spring or stream. 
Other protective areas near water may 
be required to protect riparian habitat 
and T&E species. 



A-4 



14. Springs and water developments on 
public lands may be used only with the 
prior written approval of the authorized 
officer or the water rights holder. 

15. To maintain esthetics values, all semi- 
permanent and permanent facilities will 
be painted to blend with the natural 
surroundings. The Standard 
Environmental Colors will be used for 
color selection. 

16. Fences shall not be cut without prior 
approval of the authorized officer. 
Before cutting any fences, the operator 
shall firmly brace the fence on both 
sides of the cut; a temporary gate will 
be installed for use during the course of 
operations unless the fence is 
immediately repaired. Upon completion 
of operations, fences shall be restored 
to at least their original condition. 

17. As directed by the authorized officer, 
cattle guards will be installed whenever 
access roads are through pasture gates 
or fences. These cattle guards shall be 
maintained. This includes cleaning out 
under cattle guard bases when needed. 

1 8. The depth of surface soil material to be 
removed and stockpiled will be 
specified by the authorized officer. If 
topsoil is stockpiled for more than one 
year, the stockpile shall be seeded or 
otherwise protected from wind and 
water erosion. The stockpile shall be 
marked or segregated to avoid loss or 
mixing with other subsurface materials. 
Any trees removed will be separated 
from soils and stockpiled separately. 

19. Mud, separation pits and other 
containments used during the 
exploration or operation of the lease for 
the storage of oil and other hazardous 
materials shall be adequately fenced, 
posted or covered. 

20. If historic or archaeological materials 
are uncovered during construction, the 
operator is to immediately stop work 
that might further disturb such 
materials, and contact the authorized 



officer. Within five working days the 
authorized officer will inform the 
operator as to: 

- whether the materials appear eligible 
for the National Register of Historic 
Places; 

- the mitigation measures the operator 
will likely have to undertake before the 
site can be used (assuming in situ 
preservation is not necessary); and, 

- a timeframe for the authorized officer 
to complete an expedited review under 
36 CFR 800.11 or other applicable 
Programmatic Agreement, to confirm, 
through the State Historic Preservation 
Officer, that the findings of the 
authorized officer are correct and that 
mitigation is appropriate. 

21 . If the operator wishes, at any time, to 
relocate activities to avoid the expense 
of mitigation and/or the delays 
associated with the process described 
in item 20 above for inadvertent 
discovery of cultural resources, the 
authorized officer will assume 
responsibility for whatever recordation 
and stabilization of the exposed 
materials may be required. Otherwise, 
the operator will be responsible for 
mitigation costs. The authorized officer 
will provide technical and procedural 
guidelines for the conduct of 
mitigation. Upon verification from the 
authorized officer that the required 
mitigation has been completed, the 
operator will then be allowed to resume 
construction. 

22. Bald eagle roosts, peregrine falcon hack 
sites and known occupied raptor aeries 
(nests) will be avoided during the 
nesting and fledging period. 

23. Field development construction 
activities within 1/2-mile of a sage 
grouse lek will require motorized 
equipment to have noise abatement 
devices to preclude excessive noise 
during the sage grouse strutting period. 



A-5 



24. The cutting of rare, unique or unusual 
trees will not be permitted. In 
particular cutting of Bristlecone pine, 
Swamp Cedar, Ponderosa pine and 
White Fir will be avoided. 

25. Consultation with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (USFWS) is required 
per section 7 of the Endangered 
Species Act prior to approval of an 
APD or other lease operations if any 
proposed listed or listed threatened or 
endangered species or its critical 
habitat is likely to be affected by 
project activities. If there is deemed to 
be any adverse impact the proposal 
would be modified or the request 
denied. 

26. Actions which would adversely impact 
a federally listed candidate threatened 
or endangered plant or animal species 
will be modified in order to prevent 
possible future listing of these species 
as threatened or endangered. 

27. Fences shall be flagged with bright 
colored flagging at least every rod for 
visibility to wild horses. All fences 
should be constructed using green steel 
posts with white or silver tops to 
increase visibility. Fences should also 
avoid obvious horse migration routes 
(deep trails, stud piles) if at all possible. 

28. No access roads, drill pads, mud pits or 
storage facilities will be allowed within 
200 meters of cave entrances, drainage 
areas and subsurface passages. No 
waste material or chemicals will be 
placed, or disposed of, in sinkholes or 
cave entrances. If during construction 
activities any sinkholes or cave 
openings are discovered, construction 
activities will cease and the Authorized 
Officer will be notified. 

29. The discharge of dredged or fill material 
into surface waters such as navigable 
and interstate waters and their 
tributaries, wetlands adjacent to those 
waters and all impoundments of those 
waters may require an individual permit 
or notification under Section 404 of the 



Clean Water Act (CWA) issued by the 
District Engineer (DE) of the Corps of 
Engineers (COE). Criteria applied 
under Section 404 is established in 
regulation and will used to determine 
the type of permit or notification 
required. 

Field Operation 

1 . Operations shall be done in a manner 
which prevents damage, interference, 
or disruption of water flows and 
improvements associated with all 
springs, wells, or impoundments. It is 
the operator's responsibility to enact 
the precautions necessary to prevent 
damage, interference, or disruptions. 

2. Companies controlling roads which 
provide access into crucial wildlife 
areas may be required to close the road 
with a lockable gate to prevent general 
use of the road during critical periods 
of the year when resource problems are 
experienced (during hunting seasons, 
winter, etc.). This restrictive measure 
would be applied where needed to 
protect wildlife resources or to 
minimize environmental degradation. 

3. The use of closed road segments will 
be restricted to legitimate, authorized 
agents of the lessee and/or their 
subcontractor(s), the land managing 
agency and other agencies with a 
legitimate need (NDOW, other law 
enforcement agencies, etc.). 

4. Unauthorized use or failure to lock 
gates during specified time frames by 
the lessee or its subcontractors would 
be considered a violation of the terms 
of the APD or associated grants. 

5. The operator shall regularly maintain all 
roads used for access to the lease 
operation. A maintenance plan may be 
required. A regular maintenance 
program may include, but not be limited 
to, upgrading of existing roads, blading, 
ditching, culvert and drainage 
installation, and graveling or capping of 
the roadbed. 



A-6 



6. Noxious weeds which may be 

introduced due to soil disturbance and 
reclamation will be treated by methods 
to be approved by the authorized 
officer. These methods may include 
biological, mechanical, or chemical. 
Should chemical methods be approved, 
the lessee must submit a Pesticide Use 
Proposal to the authorized officer 60 
days prior to the planned application 
date. 

Reclamation and abandonment 

1 . A water well may be accepted by the 
Ely District upon completion of 
operations. Please submit the following 
information to the Ely District Office, 
Bureau of Land Management, HC 33, 
Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301-9408. 

A. Water Analysis; 

B. Type of inside diameter of 
casing used in well; 

C. Total depth of well; 

D. Depth of concrete seal; 

E. Depth of static water level; 

F. Water bearing formation or 
description of aquifer. 

2. The operator or contractor will contact 
the authorized officer 48 hours prior to 
reclamation work. 

3. Restoration work may not begin on the 
well site until the reserve pits are 
completely dry. 

4. Disturbed areas will be recontoured to 
blend as nearly as possible with the 
natural topography prior to 
revegetation. This includes removing 
all berms and refilling all cuts. 
Compacted portions of the pad will be 
ripped to a depth of 1 2 inches unless in 
solid rock. 

5. Site preparation for reclamation may 
include contour furrowing, terracing, 
reduction of steep cut and fill slopes 
and the installation of water bars, etc. 



6. All portions of the access roads not 
needed for other uses as determined by 
the authorized officer will be reclaimed. 

7. The stockpiled topsoil will be spread 
evenly over the disturbed area. 

8. The operator will be required to 
construct waterbars and re-open 
drainages on abandoned access roads 
and pipeline routes to minimize erosion 
as required. Water bars will be spaced 
appropriately dependant upon 
topography and slope. Pipeline routes 
shall be water-barred perpendicular to 
the fall-line of the slope. 

9. The area is considered to be 
satisfactorily reclaimed when all 
disturbed areas have been recontoured 
to blend with the natural topography, 
erosion stabilized and an acceptable 
vegetative cover has been established. 

10. Rehabilitation shall be planned on the 
sites of both producing and abandoned 
wells. The entire site or portion 
thereof, not required for the continued 
operation of the well, should be 
restored as nearly as practical to its 
original condition. Final grading of 
back-filled and cut slopes will be done 
to prevent erosion and encourage 
establishment of vegetation. 

1 1 . Petroleum products such as gasoline, 
diesel fuel, helicopter fuel, crankcase 
oil, lubricants, and cleaning solvents 
used to fuel, lubricate, and clean 
vehicles and equipment will be 
containerized in approved containers. 

12. Hazardous materials shall be properly 
stored in separate containers to prevent 
mixing, drainage or accidents. 
Hazardous materials shall not be 
drained onto the ground or into streams 
or drainage areas. 



A-7 



13. Totally enclosed containment shall be 
provided for all solid construction 
waste including trash, garbage, 
petroleum products and related litter 
will be removed to an authorized 
sanitary landfill approved for the 
disposal of these classes of waste. 

14. All construction, operation, and 
maintenance activities shall comply 
with all applicable federal, state, and 
local laws and regulations regarding the 
use of hazardous substances and the 
protection of air and water quality. 

15. In construction areas where 
recontouring is not required, vegetation 
will be left in place wherever possible 
and the original contour will be 
maintained to avoid excessive root 
damage and allow for resprouting. 



16. Watering facilities (e.g., tanks, 
developed springs, water lines, wells, 
etc.) will be repaired or replaced if they 
are damaged or destroyed by 
construction activities to its 
predisturbed condition as required by 
the authorized officer. 

17. Mulching of the seed-bed following 
seeding may be required under certain 
conditions (i.e., expected severe 
erosion), as determined by the 
authorized officer. 

18. Seed will be broadcast between 
October 1 and March 15 using a site- 
specific seed mixture and depth of 
planting as determined by the 
authorized officer. Seed may be 
applied with a rangeland drill at half the 
rate of broadcast seeding. All seeding 
application rates will be in pounds of 
pure live seed per acre. Seed should 
be adapted varieties. 



A-8 



APPENDIX B 



ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT 
SECTION 7 CONSULTATION 

U. S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 
BIOLOGICAL OPINION 



APPENDIX B 




TAXI 

PftiMW 




§» United States Department of the Interior amehca 



FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 
NEVADA ECOLOGICAL SERVICES FIELD 0F7ICE 
4600 Kietzke Lane, Building C-125 
Reno, Nevada 89502-5093 



April 15, 1993 
File No. 1-5-93-F-25 



Memorandum 
To: 

From: 
Subject: 



District Manager, Ely District, Bureau of Land 
Management, Ely, Nevada 

Field Supervisor, Ecological Services, Reno, Nevada 

Biological Opinion on Implenentation of the Draft Oil 
and Gas Leasing Amendment to the Egan Resource 
Management Plan 



This Biological Opinion responds to your October 21, 1992, 
request for formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) pursuant to section 7 of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Service has analyzed possible 
impacts to three threatened or endangered species and their 
critical habitats that may result from the Bureau of Land 
Management's (Bureau) implementation of the draft oil and gas 
leasing amendment to the Egan Resource Area (RA) Resource 
Management Plan (RMP) . Endangered bald eagles ( Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus ) , endangered White River spinedace ( Lepidomeda 
albivallis ) , and threatened Railroad Valley springfish 
( Crenichthvs neyadae) are found within the Egan RA. This formal 
consultation was conducted pursuant to the regulations governing 
interagency cooperation under the Act (50 CFR Part 402) . Your 
request was received in this office on October 21, 1992, and 
formal consultation was initiated on February 16, 1993, following 
receipt of additional information. 



In January 1988, the Ninth Circuit Court 
Connor v. Burford (Nos. 85-3929 to 85-393 



analyze all stages of any Bureau on-shore 
program in comprehensive biological opini 
requirements of section 7 of the Act. An 
consultation approach cannot: be used. Th 
analyzes all stages of the Egan RA oil an 
but addresses only the potential general 
program, not specific impacts of individu 
consultation may be required: for each ope 
oil and gas program to analyze specific i 



of Appeals decided in 
7) that the Service must 

oil and gas leasing 
ons to satisfy the 

incremental-step 
is Biological Opinion 
d gas leasing program, 
impacts of the entire 
al leases. Additional 
rational stage of the 
mpacts. 



This Biological Opinion was prepared using information contained 
in the Bureau's Egan Resource Management Plan Draft Oil and Gas 
Leasing Amendment and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 
dated February 1992; Bureau memoranda dated October 21, 1992, and 



B-l 



February 10, 1993; a meeting attended by our respective staff 
members on January 6, 1993; telephone conversations with Bureau 
staff; and Nevada Ecological Services Field Office files. 

Description of the Proposed Action 

The Bureau's existing Egan RMP does not conform to Bureau program 
guidance on management of oil and gas resources because it does 
not address issues relating to oil and gas exploration and 
development. The program guidance requires that the Bureau 
estimate oil and gas development potential within the Egan RA and 
develop a leasing strategy based on this potential that allows 
for balanced management of all natural resources. To correct 
this deficiency, the Bureau prepared the draft oil and gas 
leasing amendment to the Egan RMP. 

Since 1984, the Egan RA has experienced steady geophysical 
exploration and exploratory well drilling (Figure 1) . 
Approximately 58 percent of the Egan RA has been classified as 
having a high oil and gas potential. Oil and gas reserves within 
the Egan RA are estimated at 97 million barrels of oil and 60 
billion cubic feet of gas. Currently, there are 1,126 active oil 
and gas leases covering 22 percent of the Egan RA. Although no 
oil and gas fields have been established in the Egan RA, oil and 
gas reserves are currently being extracted from areas to the 
north (Pine Valley) and south (Railroad Valley) , and may extend 
into the Egan RA. The Railroad Valley oil field is the largest 
in Nevada. 

Oil and gas exploration and development activities generally 
progress through the following sequential, but often overlapping, 
phases: 1) Preliminary exploration, 2) exploratory drilling, 3) 
field development and production, and 4) field abandonment. The 
Bureau has specific permitting requirements for each of these 
phases, and will initiate section 7 consultation under the Act 
for any specific activity which may affect listed species. 

Preliminary exploration determines where oil and gas resources 
are likely to occur, how deep they are located, and how much may 
be present by measuring surface and subsurface geological 
characteristics. Seismic surveys are the most popular 
geophysical method employed. Truck-mounted vibrators and surface 
and subsurface explosions are used to generate the shock-waves, 
the characteristics of which are then recorded and interpreted. 
A given area may be explored several times by the same or 
different companies over a long period of time. Multiple 
exploration programs may be undertaken if first attempts were 
unsuccessful, another company wants its own information, or new 
techniques or equipment are available. 



B-2 



EGAN OIL AN 
LEASING AMENDf 

| OTH£P FED€RAL UWOS 
E «*»TT AHO STA1T LANDS 

OIL AND GAS POTENTIAL 

|"T] HCH POTEXUtL 

[2j UOOERXTE OOTEHTVU. 

|3i LOW POTPfTUU. 




Figure 1: Location of existing oil and gas exploration wells and areas of oil and 

gas development potential within the Egan Resource Area (taken from Bureau 
1992). 



B-3 



When p 
explor 
be obt 
Strati 
subsur 
severa 
analyz 
surf ac 
foot a 



reliminary exploration identifies 
atory drilling may be justified, 
ained from the Bureau before any e 
graphic tests supplement seismic d 
face structural features. Holes a 
1 thousand feet deep and the resul 
ed. Truck-mounted drilling equipm 
e disturbance is temporary and gen 
ccess road and a one-half acre dri 



a favorable site, 
An oil and gas lease must 
xploratory drilling, 
ata and aid in revealing 
re drilled from 100 to 
ting rock chips are 
ent is fairly mobile, and 
erally limited to a 12-14 
11 site. 



The final phase of exploration is establishment of a wildcat well 
to determine if the prospect actually contains oil or gas. In 
Nevada, one in ten wildcat wells produce commercial amounts of 
oil and gas, while the national success ratios average is one in 
sixteen. The lessee and/or operator must file an Application for 
Permit to Drill (APD) with the Bureau prior to any activity 
related to establishment of a wildcat well. The Bureau reviews 
the APD for technical adequacy and protection of subsurface and 
surface resources, and prepares an environmental assessment. An 
approved APD incorporates all drilling, surface use, and 
reclamation requirements identified during the Bureau's onsite 
and technical review. 



Construction of the wildcat well site 
12- to 14-foot wide access road and a 
The drill pad is cleared of all vegeta 
drilling equipment, mud pumps, mud (re 
pipe racks, and a tool house. A surfa 
from a stream or water well, water may 
or more commonly, a water well is deve 
operations generally require between 5 
water a day. 



includes development of a 
1- to 3-acre drill pad. 
tion and leveled for the 
serve) pits, generators, 
ce pipeline may be laid 

be trucked into the site, 
loped onsite. Drilling 
,000 and 15,000 gallons of 



During drilling, a surface casing is cemented into place to 
protect fresh-water aquifers from drilling fluid contamination. 
To prevent well blow-out during drilling, large metal rams are 
attached to the surface casing to confine the pressure if the 
drill hits a high-pressure zone. Drilling mud is pumped down the 
drill pipe to clean and cool the bit, carry cuttings to the 
surface, and seal the sides of the hole to control pressure of 
any water, gas or oil encountered by the drill. 

If the well does not encounter oil or gas, it is plugged with 
cement and abandoned. The well pad and access road are 
recontoured and revegetated. If a water well has been developed 
onsite, the well may be turned over to the Bureau for resource 
enhancement purposes such as wildlife or livestock water. If the 
well will produce oil or gas, a casing is cemented in place to 
the producing zone, and the drill rig is replaced with a smaller 
rig to complete the well. 



B-4 



wctbb—hibmuiimi 



If a wildcat well becomes a discovery well, additional veils vill 
be drilled to confirm the discovery, establish the extent of the 
field, and to efficiently drain the reservoir. The procedures 
for drilling development wells are generally the same as for 
wildcat wells. Any production activity that results in new or 
additional surface disturbance and/or is not approved under the 
APD, requires the approval of the Bureau. 

Wildcat well and field development wells are cadastrally surveyed 
to establish legal location, and to ensure compliance with State 
of Nevada regulations regarding the location and spacing of oil 
and gas wells. The Bureau has the authority to waive State 
spacing regulations in the interest of conservation, but normally 
abides by the State's spacing regulations. Oil well spacing for 
production from Federal leases in Nevada is a minimum of 40 acres 
for wells with depths of 5,000 feet or less, and 160 acres for 
wells greater than 5,000 feet deep. Gas wells are spaced at 160- 
and 640-acre intervals. 

During oil and gas field development, wells are fitted with pumps 
or control valves if the well is free-flowing. Pipelines, 
separating facilities, storage tank batteries, and refineries are 
constructed and the road system is upgraded. The crude oil is 
transferred from the well to a separating facility where any gas 
and water is removed from the oil. The oil is then stored in 
tank batteries before being transported to the refinery. Crude 
oil is transported to the refinery in pipelines or by truck if 
the size of the field or other factors make it uneconomical to 
construct a pipeline. 

Some oil and gas wells produce water that must be disposed of 
during operation of the well. This water is generally re- 
injected in a water well created for this purpose or in 
nonproducing oil and gas wells. The water must meet quality 
standards established by the State of Nevada and must be 
introduced into the formation from which it came or one 
containing water of equal or poorer quality. Water re-injection 
wells are constructed with protective measures to prevent 
injected water from migrating up or down from the injection zone 
to other formations. 



The life-span of an oil and gas field va 
characteristics found at each field. A 
15 to 25 years, although abandonment of 
start early and reach a maximum when the 
Generally, wells which never produced ar 
the base of the casing, the casing is fi 
and a cement cap is installed on the top 
monument giving information about the we 
not, the casing is cut off and capped be 
Protection of aquifers and known oil and 
may require placement of additional ceme 



ries due to unique 
typical field exists for 
individual wells may 

field is depleted, 
e plugged with cement at 
lied with drilling mud, 

of the casing. A pipe 
11 may be required. If 
low ground level. 

gas producing formations 
nt plugs within the well. 



B-5 



Some production wells are plugged immediately following 
depletion, but others are allowed to stand idle for future 
secondary recovery programs. In addition to the measures 
required for a dry well, depleted production wells are plugged 
with cement in the producing zone. 

After the well is plugged, all equipment is removed and the well 
pad and access roads are restored as required in the APD. 
Generally, the area is graded to restore original contours, 
minimize erosion, and allow for revegetation. Stockpiled topsoil 
is redistributed and the site is reseeded. A fence may be 
constructed to protect the site until revegetation is completed. 
The water well may be turned over to the Bureau for resource 
enhancement. 



The Bureau's reasonable deve 
leasing in the Egan RA is ba 
Railroad Valley. Based on c 
estimates that 175 oil and g 
development wells may be dri 
land use planning period. O 
development activities may r 
disturbance. By the end of 
2,212 acres associated with 
but no reclamation of develo 
1992) . 



lopment scenario for oil and gas 
sed on the development observed in 
ertain assumptions, the Bureau 
as exploration wells and 248 
lied within the Egan RA during the 
il and gas exploration and 
esult in 3,486 acres of surface 
the planning period, approximately 
exploration wells would be reclaimed, 
ped oil fields is expected (Bureau 



Under the Bureau's preferred oil and gas leasing alternative, 61 
percent of the Egan RA's 3.8 million acres would be designated as 
open to leasing with standard terms and conditions; 30.9 percent 
would be open to leasing with minor restrictions (e.g. timing 
limitations); 6.4 percent would be closed to leasing for 
discretionary or nondiscretionary reasons; and 1.7 percent would 
be open to leasing with major restrictions (e.g. no surface 
occupancy) . No surface occupancy or closed-to-leasing 
restrictions would be placed on 15,540 acres to protect species 
federally listed as threatened or endangered and their critical 
habitats, and species considered as candidates for listing under 
the Act (Bureau 1992) . 

Additional protective measures would be included as standard 
practices and procedures for exploration, pre-construction, well 
pad and facility construction, field operation, reclamation, and 
abandonment activities. These measures include, but are not 
limited to: 1) Prohibitions on a) exploratory blasting within h 
mile of springs, b) establishment of drilling or storage 
facilities within 500 feet of any open water, and c) discharge of 
oil or lubricants onto the ground surface; 2) avoidance of raptor 
nests and roost sites; 3) consultation with the Service on all 
proposed activities which may affect threatened or endangered 
species or their critical habitats; 4) modification of proposed 
activities which may adversely impact species recognized as 

6 



B-6 



'■':■■.':. ■ ' ■;:. ■ ." '■'■:'.■:.■■■■ ■'■."■■ 



candidates for listing under the Act; 5) adequate fencing or 
covering of mud and separation pits used for the storage of oil 
and other hazardous materials; 6) adequate casing of all wells to 
prevent aquifer contamination; and 7) compliance with all Nevada 
Division of Environmental Protection water quality requirements 
for reinjection of produced waters (Bureau 1992). 

Status of the Species/Environmental Baseline 

Bald Eagle 

In 1978, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species in 
all of the conterminous United States, except for Michigan, 
Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, where it is 
classified as threatened (43 Federal Register 6233). Critical 
habitat has not been designated. The Recovery Plan for the 
Pacific Bald Eagle identifies reasonable actions needed to 
improve the status of bald eagles in California, Idaho, Montana, 
Nevada, Oregon, Washington, .and Wyoming (Service 1986) . 

Habitat loss is the most significant, long-term threat to all 
bald eagle populations (Service 1986) . While individual local or 
small-scale actions may not appear to be significant, the 
cumulative effect of human activities which adversely affect the 
suitability of traditional bald eagle breeding, wintering, and 
foraging areas throughout the United States poses an important 
threat to the recovery of the species. Shooting continues to be 
the most frequently recorded single cause of bald eagle 
mortality, although the rate may be declining (Service 1986) . 
Bald eagle's are susceptible to debilitating effects of many 
environmental contaminants, including pesticides and lead shot, 
due to secondary ingestion of poisons contained in their prey. 
Reproduction throughout the species' range has improved since the 
use of organochlorine pesticides was restricted in the 1970's. 
However, residual concentrations of pesticides are still present 
in some birds and continue to affect reproductive success. 

Bald eagle nesting has been uncommon in Nevada. Nesting activity 
was documented on Anaho Island in Pyramid Lake, Washoe County in 
1866, and along Salmon Falls Creek, Elko County in 1985. The 
Salmon Falls Creek pair did not produce young, but the nest site 
offers the best potential in Nevada (Service 1986) . Recently, 
adult bald eagles have been present in western Nevada during the 
spring and summer months, but no nesting activity has been 
observed (Herron, et al. 1985). Approximately 125 bald eagles 
spend the winter (November through March) in Nevada, occupying 
traditional areas which are closely associated with open water, 
such as wetland, lake, and riverine habitats, or which support 
large populations of jackrabbits ( Lepus sp.). Approximately 60 
percent of the State's wintering bald eagles occur in western 
Nevada, 35 percent in eastern Nevada, and 5 percent in southern 
Nevada (Herron, et al. 1985). The Bureau (1992) has identified 



B-7 



bald eagle winter roost sites within the Egan RA on private land 

in Railroad Valley and on Bureau land in Newark Valley. Bald 

eagles migrate into the area in November and depart as late as 
May. 

Nevada's wintering bald eagles require adequate food supplies and 
night roosts within a reasonable distance of the feeding area. 
Fish, waterfowl, jackrabbits, and various types of carrion are 
the most common food sources for bald eagles (Service 1986) . 
Communal roost trees generally provide a more favorable 
microclimate than surrounding areas and thereby facilitate energy 
conservation during inclimate weather (Service 1986) . Bald 
eagles tend to return to the same roost tree year after year. 
Isolation is an important factor of bald eagle wintering habitat. 
Excessive human activity may result in suitable winter habitats 
not being used by bald eagles (Service 1986) . 

White River Spinedace 

The White River spinedace was listed as an endangered species and 
its critical habitat designated in 1985 because five populations 
had been extirpated and the remaining two had declined due to 
habitat destruction and nonnative species introductions (50 
Federal Register 37194). Critical habitat includes Preston Big 
Spring, Lund Spring, Flag Springs, and their associated outflows. 
This species historically occupied seven habitats in northern 
White River Valley, Nye and White Pine Counties, Nevada: 1) 
Upper White River near its confluence with Ellison Creek, 2) 
Preston Big Spring, 3) Cold Spring, 4) Nicholas Spring, 5) 
Arnoldson Spring, 6) Lund Spring, and 7) Flag Springs. The 
Service (1992) identified all seven historically occupied 
habitats as essential for recovery of the White River spinedace, 
and determined that they should be rehabilitated to allow 
reestablishment of White River spinedace populations. All 
historically occupied habitats, except for Flag Springs, are 
within the Egan RA. The upper White River flows through Bureau, 
Forest Service, and private lands, and five of the springs are on 
private land. Flag Springs are on the State of Nevada's Wayne E. 
Kirch Wildlife Management Area. 



In 1985, on 
spinedace p 
was extirpa 
The Flag Sp 
estimated a 
al. 1992). 
and habitat 
the 1930's 
swift curre 
1960) . Whi 
are unknown 



ly the Lund Spring and Flag Springs White River 
opulations persisted, but the Lund Spring population 
ted shortly thereafter (Scoppettone, et al. 1992). 
rings population persists at a precariously low level, 
t less than 100 individuals in 1991 (Scoppettone, et 
Very little is known about the species' life history 
requirements. White River spinedace collected during 
occupied cool, clear, spring habitats with moderate to 
nts and gravel and sand substrates (Miller and Hubbs 
te River spinedace food preferences and feeding habits 



B-8 



'inW MUUWM W 



Railroad Valley Sprlngflsh 



In 1986, the Railroad Valley springfish was federally listed as a 
threatened species and its critical habitat designated pursuant 
to the Act because suitable habitat had decreased since the 
species' description in 1932 (51 Federal Register 10857). 
Critical habitat includes six spring systems in Railroad Valley: 
Big Warm Spring, Little Warm Spring, North Spring, Hay Corral 
Spring, Reynolds Springs, and Big Spring. Railroad Valley 
springfish populations have also been established at Sodaville 
Spring, Mineral County; Chimney Spring, Railroad Valley, Nye 
County; Dugan Ranch Spring, Hot Creek Canyon, Nye County; and 
Warm (Nanny Goat) Spring, Nye County. Big Warm Spring and Little 
Warm Spring are on the Duckwater Indian Reservation, although 
portions of each spring's outflow cross Bureau land. North 
Spring, Reynolds Springs, and Chimney Spring are on Bureau land. 
The remainder of the habitats are on private property. 

Railroad Valley springfish currently occupy all 10 historic and 
introduction sites. Some populations have been severely impacted 
by habitat modification and nonnative species introductions. The 
historic populations are susceptible to loss of spring flow which 
may result from any event, natural or human-induced, which alters 
the hydrology of the Railroad Valley ground water basin. The 
Chimney Spring population was extirpated in 1981 following a 
significant, but unexplained, decrease in spring flow which 
lasted for 6 months (Williams 1986) . 

Known constituent elements of Railroad Valley springfish critical 
habitats include clear, unpolluted, thermal (29° to 36 s 
Centigrade) spring pools, flowing channels, and marshy areas with 
aquatic plants, insects, and mollusks (51 Federal Register 
10857) . Railroad Valley springfish spawning activity is 
restricted to areas with water temperatures between 28° and 35* 
Centigrade, although the species can tolerate temperature 
extremes of 14° to 40° for short periods of time (Williams 1986). 
Spawning occurs from early spring through late autumn. Railroad 
Valley springfish are indiscriminant and opportunistic feeders, 
ingesting a wide variety of foods. The species is primarily 
herbivorous during the spring, consuming primarily filamentous 
algae, but shifts to carnivory by summer, when animal foods are 
more common (Williams 1986) . 

Effects of the Proposed Action on the Listed Species 



Implementation of the Bureau's oil and 
the Egan RA may indirectly impact bald 
spinedace, and Railroad Valley springf 
conducted during the winter within clo 
roost trees or foraging areas may resu 
sites and resultant stress to the bird 
activity which disturbs vegetation may 



gas leasing program within 

eagles, White River 
ish. Any human activity 
se proximity to bald eagle 
It in abandonment of those 
s as they relocate. Any 

also disrupt populations 



B-9 



of vertebrates used as a forage base by wintering bald eagles. 

Heavy wildlife mortality has been documented at open pits used 
for storage of oil and other hazardous materials during oil and 
gas exploration or production, for disposal of oil-sludge from 
refineries, and to capture spillage from crude oil storage tanks 
(Flickinger 1981) . Certain species of wildlife may be attracted 
to the open pits, mistaking them for water, while other species 
may scavenge carcasses in the pits and then themselves become 
victims. Raptors, including a bald eagle, have either perished 
or been rescued from oil pits after apparently attempting to 
forage on carcasses of other birds (Flickinger 1981; Flickinger 
and Bunck 1987) . 

The various habitats either currently or historically occupied by 
Railroad Valley springfish or White River spinedace may be 
degraded by various oil and gas activities which impact the 
ground water basin supporting each habitat. The use of 
subsurface explosions during geophysical exploration, creation of 
artesian wells during exploratory drilling, and development of 
water wells to support oil field development may affect discharge 
of springs in the vicinity. Any of these activities may decrease 
spring flows and/or alter water chemistry and temperature such 
that the aquatic habitat is no longer suitable for the species of 
concern. 

Contamination of aquifers is possible if casings inside well 
shafts fail. Reinjection of water produced from oil wells may 
indirectly affect spring habitats if the criteria used to 
determine quality of reinjected water do not consider elements 
critical to fish health, such as temperature. Oil accidentally 
spilled from pipelines or transport trucks which enters any water 
currently or historically occupied by Railroad Valley springfish 
or White River spinedace may result in fish mortality and 
adversely affect overall aquatic habitat conditions such that 
recovery efforts are hampered. 

Potential impacts to bald eagles should be minimized by the 
Bureau's prohibition of oil and gas activities near raptor nests 
and roost sites, and by requirements for all storage pits 
containing hazardous materials to be covered. Given the scarcity 
of bald eagle roost sites within the Egan RA, the disturbance of 
approximately 3,500 acres of the 3.8 million acre Egan RA due to 
oil and gas leasing activities should not appreciably reduce the 
bald eagle's prey base. Potential impacts to White River 
spinedace and Railroad Valley springfish should be minimized by 
the Bureau's requirements preventing contamination of aquifers 
and prohibiting exploratory blasting near springs, establishment 
of drilling or storage facilities near any open water, and 
discharge of oil or other toxicants onto the ground. 



10 



B-10 



The Service, therefore, has determined that the impacts described 
herein will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and 
recovery of bald eagles, White River spinedace, or Railroad 
Valley springfish, or destroy or adversely modify their critical 
habitats. The Bureau will incorporate protective measures into 
all phases of the oil and gas leasing program, and additional 
section 7 consultation will be conducted for each specific phase 
should the Bureau determine that a listed species may be 
affected. 

Cumulative Effects 

Cumulative effects are those effects of future non-Federal 
(State, local government, or private) activities on endangered 
and threatened species or critical habitat that are reasonably 
certain to occur during the course of the Federal activity 
subject to consultation. Future Federal actions are subject to 
the consultation requirements established in section 7 of the Act 
and, therefore, are not considered cumulative to the proposed 
action. 



Approx 

manage 

proper 

which 

roost 

habita 

degrad 

for co 



imately 4.3 million acres (85 percent) of the Egan RA are 
d by Federal agencies, and 180,000 acres are private 
ty. The Service is 
may affect the three 
tree and five histor 
ts exist on private 
es these habitats ma 
ntinued or future us 



aware of no future private activities 

listed species. However, a bald eagle 
ically occupied White River spinedace 
property. Any landowner activity which 
y adversely impact their suitability 
e by the species of concern. 



Biological Opinion 



It is our Biological Opinion that the Bureau's implementation of 
the Egan RA oil and gas leasing program is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of three threatened or 
endangered species, or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. 

Incidental Take 

Sections 4(d) and 9 of the Act prohibit taking (harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or 
attempt to engage in such conduct) of listed species of fish and 
wildlife without a special exemption. "Harm" is further defined 
to include significant habitat modification or degradation that 
results in death or injury to listed species by significantly 
impairing behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering (50 CFR § 17.3). "Harass" is defined as actions that 
create the likelihood of injury to listed species to such an 
extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavior patterns which 
include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering 

11 



B-ll 



(50 CFR S 17.3). Under the terms of sections 7(b)(4) and 
7(o)(2), taking that is incidental to and not intended as part of 
the agency action is not considered prohibited taking provided 
that such taking is in compliance with this Biological Opinion. 
The Bureau has a continuing duty to regulate the activity that is 
covered by this incidental take statement. 

The Service does not anticipate that the proposed implementation 
of the Egan RMP oil and gas leasing program will result in any 
incidental take of bald eagles, White River spinedace, or 
Railroad Valley springfish, therefore none is authorized by this 
incidental take statement. 

Conservation Recommendations 

Section 7(a)(1) of the Act directs Federal agencies to use their 
authorities to further the purposes of the Act by carrying out 
conservation programs for the benefit of endangered and 
threatened species. The term "conservation recommendations" has 
been defined as Service suggestions regarding discretionary 
Federal agency activities to minimize or avoid adverse effects of 
a proposed action on listed species or critical habitat, or 
regarding the development of information. 

1. The Bureau should coordinate all oil and gas leasing 
activities within Railroad Valley between the Egan 
District and the Battle Mountain District. 

2. The Bureau should monitor the discharge of Railroad 
Valley springs on public lands and take appropriate 
actions to correct any declines. 

3. The Bureau should restrict oil and gas field 
development within areas used by bald eagles to 
minimize the indirect loss of bald eagle prey base. 

4. The Bureau should restrict the construction of oil and 
gas field access roads or pipeline near open water to 
avoid accidental contamination due to spillage. 

In order for the Service to be kept informed of actions that 
either minimize or avoid adverse effects, or that benefit listed 
species or their habitats, the Service requests notification of 
the implementation of any conservation recommendations. 

Reinitiation Requirement 

This concludes formal consultation on the proposed action 
outlined in your memorandum dated October 21, 1992. As required 
by 50 CFR § 402.16, reinitiation of formal consultation is 
required if: (1) The amount or extent of incidental take is 
exceeded; (2) new information reveals effects of the Federal 

12 



B-12 



agency action that may affect listed species or critical habitat 
in a manner or to an extent not considered in this Biological 
Opinion; (3) the Federal agency action is subsequently modified 
in a manner that causes an effect to the listed species or 
critical habitat that was not considered in this Biological 
Opinion; (4) a new species is listed or critical habitat 
designated that may be affected by the action. In instances 
where the amount or extent of incidental take is exceeded, any 
operations that are causing such take must be stopped in the 
interim period between the reinitiation and completion of the new 
consultation if any additional taking is likely to occur. 

We appreciate the assistance and cooperation of your staff 
throughout this consultation process. If we can be of any 
further assistance, please contact me or Donna Withers at 
(702) 784-5227. 




David L. Harlow 

cc: 

State Director, Bureau of Land Management, Reno, Nevada 
Director, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Reno, Nevada 
Regional Manager, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Elko, Nevada 
Regional Manager, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Las Vegas, 

Nevada 
Chief, Division of Endangered Species, Fish and Wildlife Service, 

Washington, D.C. 
Senior Resident Agent, Division of Law Enforcement, 

Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno, Nevada 
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Portland, 

Oregon (Attn: Richard Hill) 



13 



B-13 



LITERATURE CITED 

Bureau of Land Management. 1992. Egan Resource Management 

Plan Draft Oil and Gas Leasing Amendment and Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement. Ely District, Nevada. 

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1986. Recovery Plan for the 
Pacific Bald Eagle. Portland, Oregon. 160 pp. 

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Technical/Agency Review Draft 
of the White River spinedace, Lepjdomeda albivallis . 
Recovery Plan. Portland, Oregon. 34 pp. 

Flickinger, E. L. 1981. 1981. Wildlife mortality at petroleum 
pits in Texas. Journal of Wildlife Management 45(2): 560- 
564. 



Flickinger, E. L. and Christine M. Bunck. 1987. Number of oil- 
killed birds and fate of bird carcasses at crude oil pits in 
Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 32(3): 377-381. 

Herron, Gary B. , Craig A. Mortimore, and Marcus S. Rawlings. 
1985. Nevada Raptors - Their Biology and Management. 
Nevada Department of Wildlife, Biological Bulletin No. 8. 
114 pp. 

Miller, R. R. and C. L. Hubbs. 1960. The spiny-rayed cyprinid 
fishes (Plagopterini) of the Colorado River system. Misc. 
Publ. Museum of Zoology 115: 1-39. University of Michigan. 



Scoppettone, G 
Heinrich. 



G., James E. Harvey, Sean P. Shea, and James 
1992. Relative abundance and distribution of 
fishes in the White River Valley, Nevada with special 
emphasis on the White River spinedace ( Lepidomeda 
mollispinis) . Prepared under contract for the Nevada 
Department of Wildlife, Reno, Nevada. 163 pp. 

Williams, C. D. 1986. Life history of the Railroad Valley 

springfish, Crenichthvs nevadae Hubbs (Cyprinodontidae) , of 
east-central Nevada. Master's Thesis. Department of 
Biological Sciences, California State University, 
Sacramento. 






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TD 195 .P4 E59 1994 
U. S. Bureau of Land 

Management. Ely District. 
Egan Resource management 

plan approved oil and gas 



gi_M LiDHARY 

RS 150A BLDG. 50 

DENVER FEDERAL CENTER 

P.O. BOX 25047 

DENVER, CO 80225 



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

Bureau of Land Management 

Egan Resource Area 

HC 33 Box 33500 

Ely, NV 89301-9408 

OFFICIAL BUSINESS 
PENALTY FOR PRIVATE USE 

Forwarding and Address 
Correction Requested